6 Financial Stewardship Hacks for Churches
The mission of every organization is directly tied to its resources. Therefore, the better the organization stewards those resources, the bigger the impact that mission can accomplish. While there are some great resources available for big picture stewardship, we wanted to consider some unlikely stewardship hacks that can help your church extend its dollars and get as much money as possible back into your mission.
1. Rent Your Church Parking Lot/Space
Though many churches still rent the building they use, there are many churches who own their properties and facilities. Resources like parking lots, event halls, and music venues are quite valuable to the community, so much so that outside groups would be very willing to rent from you if they are given the chance.
Depending on how involved you want to be on the administrative side, you can keep it as simple as renting out parking spaces during the week for neighborhood business staffing, or you can use your auditorium to host all-ages music events. Many churches with multi-purpose spaces have found great success doing this!
2. Ditch Copays for Savings Accounts
Health insurance is the second highest line item on any church budget. Too often, churches are overspending by investing in insurance products that won’t get the most use for their spend. One of the simplest ways to save money is to move away from traditional copay plans to high-deductible plans that qualify for health savings accounts (HSA), or use the brand new HRA updated this year.
These types of plans have become increasingly popular the past several years and are a great way to lower overall out-of-pocket expenses for your staff. The church can save a lot of money on premiums and put some of those savings in HSAs for their team, then steward the remainder of the saved money back into ministry funds.
3. Encourage Recurring Giving
With most of your staff and congregation, it’s not that they don’t want to be generous. It’s usually that they just forget. There is clear data that shows recurring giving is the best way to help an individual increase their generosity. That is why one of the most important things you can do to help your people is to give them easier tools to remember!
The easier it is for your people to give, and keep giving, the more likely they will be to actually do it The most important element of all, though, is to make sure your people know the mission to which they’re giving. Clarity encourages generosity.
4. Take Advantage of Tax Credits
This hack is for a great one to share with individual givers at your ministry. Everyone feels overwhelmed by taxes at some point, but few know that there are many different tax credits they may qualify for? The one to highlight is the Advanced Premium Tax Credit, which helps to lower the overall cost of health insurance.
These can be available to around 70% of all Americans, but many times their employer-sponsored insurance is setup in a way that keeps them from accessing the credits. Or worse, many people don’t even know about them. When they are available, it’s an incredible way to steward own money better, by either getting better products or saving it for medical expenses.
5. Use the right Software and Volunteers
If you can save time as an organization, you are saving money. Successful churches are the most efficient and effective when they select the right software to automate their standard processes. What used to take days can take just hours with the right software.
The most successful churches will use both the right software and cultivate high-capacity volunteerism to help members use their gifts to serve God through the local church.
Developing a thriving volunteer staff and culture helps delay the need for additional full-time staff, which only expands your expenses. There is also a study that suggests volunteers will give more and be more likely to give on a recurring basis. Stay lean on your systems and strong with your volunteer teams!
6. Look into healthcare sharing options
Another innovative approach to solving the healthcare crisis are Christian healthcare sharing ministries. Many churches have looked into this as an option to solve their healthcare problems. This concept was started back in the 80s and these ministries have grown consistently since. They also received an exemption from the Affordable Care Act, which helped them to gain popularity.
The basis of these communities is that they consist of people who pay a monthly “share” and then are able to receive a “share” back whenever they incur qualified medical expenses. There are even innovative solutions now where not everyone on the team would have to use Christian sharing. Teams can be split up by those who Christian sharing works well for and those who don’t qualify. If you do qualify for sharing, these ministries are a great way to steward your health benefits resources well.